For parts i – iii click here
(iv) This mirror, a gift from him, the carved frame finger-softened “It's in the classic style” he says. Spotless glass blank-faced, I can see her cherubs smirking in the cornices. “Look! A beautiful portrait!” Words bounce in and out from mouth to mouth as he sets his reflection upon the wall. (A handy hook) Then he ushers me there, stands aside “You see?” The floor-boards look a little scuffed beneath my shoes. A scent hangs about: linseed? or Chanel? (v) I try to befriend this mirror my eyes print so boldly on that clean, clean glass. He says 'feline' beautifully. arching from his mouth stretching to caress me But I see irises rib-cage narrow banded by tawny latitudes proud calculating. The little girl is dark and pale as the moon “in the classic style” Her eyes are ink blots round and tranquil in her skin's sweet milk. (vi) What came before me? The mirror doesn't answer, stares back: at my nose; a slender dune, at my cheekbone; a snake's way through sand, and my eyebrows twin frond silhouettes failing to soften the long horizon of my brow. Earthy colours must fade beside such history; those stunning opposites. (vii) A leaf glides past the window. She swings in the garden. They dance in unison she and the leaf in late autumn's gusty breath. The leaf settles among a mulch of others disappears. ...the woman who died lost to the ground, the happy perfection of memory. A distant call an aerial leap the swing dangles erratic alone the girl skips away Lunch. I fix my hair and the mirror smiles approves the directness of my gaze. I am ready. (viii) It is simple mathematics one and one should never ever be three.
To be continued….